There is definitely no handbook when it comes to raising a new baby, but I kind of wish there was. It is safe to say that all three of my kids had different personalities and quirks when it came to naps and sleep time.
You would think that I would be a pro at this by now, but even at 4 months old, Lucas’ naps are all over the place. He takes a few shorter naps in the day and might have a great 2-3 hour nap at 1:00pm or, wait until 4:00pm to take his long nap.
There is one thing that I can say for sure that has helped with naps- is a swaddle. All of my kids needed a saddle in order to sleep. The startle reflex was real with all of them. (Hands on the loose, or loud noises- look out!)
It’s also funny to me how two of the kids took to sound machines, but Lucas needs absolute peace and quiet, or else he freaks out. This is fine with me, as I really enjoy a quiet room myself. When I go to feed him at night, I enjoy our quiet time with no chirping or heartbeat noises in the background.
The ways I keep my baby on a schedule are plain and simple. I make sure I keep up with it, so that it’s consistent, so that he gets used to our routine.
- Once he wakes up in the morning, I feed him. I always walk him around a bit, so that he can see what’s going on, and let the milk settle a bit. Since he has been sleeping, I want him to get a good view and take in some of the environment around us.
- I lay him on his playmat. He loves to coo and smile at his friends on there! After about 15 minutes of that, I roll him over for a couple minutes of tummy-time. Charli also loves to chat with him on the mat. It makes her feel connected to him!
- If we aren’t going anywhere, then I walk him around some more, making sure to have eye contact with him and playing with him, so that he gets to see my face some more and try to interact with me. It’s my favorite time of the day!
- Once he starts showing signs of being fussy, I know that he’s probably overstimulated and ready to go down for a nap. I head over to his room, swaddle him, and rock him until his eyes start getting sleepy. Then, I lay him in his crib and head out of the room.
Thanks to my friends at The Ollie World, we received this beautiful swaddle before Lucas was born. This swaddle has come in handy in so many ways and I can’t wait for him to continue to use it as he gets older. Why swaddle?
- Swaddled babies have more restful sleep. Swaddling helps your little one to feel secure like they did in the womb.
- Swaddling helps sleeping infants remain on their backs. Since back sleeping is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of SIDS, this is very important.
As he gets older and is able to roll from back from front, we will stop swaddling, or keep one (or both) arms out. You can find out more about the benefits of swaddling, as well as instructions for use on their website!
I wish that I had kids that could fall asleep anywhere, anytime. But the truth is that they all needed to be swaddled in some way, and placed in the room to sleep well. They all loved to be rocked and soothed before taking naps or going to bed for the night.
I believe that because of the schedule and routine I set forth for them at a very young age, they got used to going to the way they went to sleep. I can say that I successfully spent hours walking my babies around until the right time for them to be laid down in their crib for a slumber. Definitely a special time for us that would not have traded for the world.
The love and dedication a parent spends in comforting their child to sleep is so important. All of our kids are great sleepers (with the exception of sneaking into our room at night to see us occasionally!, and we appreciate that! I’m so thankful for great tools and products that also help!
Did you have a sleep schedule or routine for your kids when they were babies?